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Concerned Residents of Buck Hill Falls v. Grant

Citation: 5 ELR 20207
No. No. 74-1164, 388 F. Supp. 394/7 ERC 1469/(M.D. Pa., 01/24/1975)

The Soil Conservation Service (SCS) violated NEPA by determining that it need not file an impact statement for the construction of a proposed dam across a tributary of the Brodhead River, a famous trout stream. The court declines to follow the authority of Hanly v. Kliendienst to the effect that an agency's negative determination should be overturned only if arbitrary and capricious, and the court finds that the administrative record does not justify the agency's conclusion that the proposed dam would not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. The court also rules that the SCS used an outmoded discount rate in calculating the project's cost-benefit ratio under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, and finds that the proper ratio would accordingly be less than 1 to 1, meaning that the project would not be fundable under the Watershed statute. The SCS is enjoined from taking further action toward construction pending complican with NEPA and the Watershed Protection Act.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Robert J. Sugarman
Dechert, Price & Roades
3400 Centre Square West
1500 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19102

Counsel for Defendants
John Hall Asst. U.S. Attorney
Federal Building
P.O. Box 793
Harrisburg, Pa. 17108

Frank Leber
Office of the General Counsel
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
P.O. Box 1134
Federal Building
Harrisburg, Pa. 17108